Margaret Atwood is a Canadian poet, novelist, and critic, noted for her feminism and mythological themes. She was born in 1939 in Ottawa, about the same time World War 2 started. Her life was lived in a time of male dominance, which she did not like. She expressed her views of this by writing, and her writings showed many of the feminine views that she believes in. According to a reviewer, Atwood’s writings are obtained from the “traditional realist novel,” where often the female protagonist is representative of an ‘everywoman’ character, and is victimized by gender and politics. In her stories Atwood combine fantasy and social realism, myth and parody and poetry, and also uses postmodernist devices to unsettle the certainties of traditional realism.
The reason why she uses a lot of mythological themes is because her father was a forest etymologist. Many of the experiences that she had when she was a child, influenced her to write about the things of nature. Her writings were praised by many, this can be seen through all the awards and recognitions that she has received throughout her long and productive life. Her most outstanding award would be the Canadian Governor General’s Award for poetry in 1966. Her work has been an inspiration to many and she will be recognized for many years to come.
The three poems that I am going to discuss are: The Landlady, Rat Song and Song of the Worms. All three of these poems use strong imagery to show Margaret Atwood’s view of the way that women are treated. She uses several tones in her poems, the tone that she generally uses for these three poems are frustration and anger. Another thing that she likes to use is a run on style of poetry, which allows for the readers emotions to carry on to the next line all the way to the end of the story.
Almost all of her poems are free verse, I could not find any rhythmic or rhyming devices used in any of them. She likes to use symbolisms to get her point out, and when she uses them they are direct. One thing that I find interesting in her writings is that she likes to use something like personification, but it is the opposite. She is giving people qualities of animals. Her writing style is unique and interesting, and this style will be seen in the three poems.
In the poem The Landlady, Atwood shows that women are stronger than men. In the beginning of the story, someone is describing the landlady and we do not know who this someone is, but I think that this someone represents men. This person describes the landlady as intrusive and she is everywhere. This symbolizes that women are getting stronger and will be controlling the men. The next section says that the landlady controls the man’s life. Everything belongs to the landlady and nothing to the man. The next section is where the man tries to escape from the landlady, but she is always surrounding him. Even in the man’s dreams the landlady will be there and there will be no way around it. The last section describes how the landlady is overpowering and will not let the man go through her. This poem is free verse, which means that there are no literary devices.
The only style of writing that I can see in her poem is a type of run on poem, which allows the reader’s emotions and thoughts to carry through to the end of the story. The tone of the story is fear and entrapment by the male because of the woman’s power and authority over them. I think that this is a poem about how strong the female can be over the men. The woman will be able to control the men, and men will be at the mercy of the women. This is a strong feminist view that Atwood supports and shows through her writing. This is a strong poem and was criticized by an American journalist for being too one sided. I think that Atwood got her point through in this poem.
In the poem Rat Song, Atwood is trying to show how the rat symbolizes the woman. In the first section, it says that when the man hears the voice of the rat singing, the man takes out his gun and tries to kill the rat. This symbolizes the woman when she is trying to be heard, and the man is trying to shut the woman up. The next stanza shows that when the man tries to trap the rat, the rat outsmarts it. This makes the man think that the rat is dangerous because it is very smart. That stanza symbolizes how women are smart and men should watch out for them. The following stanza talks about what the rat really wants. It says in the poem, “All I want is love,” the rat does not want to bother the man or live off of the man, all it wants is some love. This is just like women today, they do not want to annoy men, and all they want are love and respect. The reason why the rat lives off the man is not because it wants to, but because it is the only thing that it can do. Atwood is trying to say that women are weaker because men are suppressing the women.
In the last section, there is a line that says, “he is hiding / between your syllables.” This line talks about how the rat can hear compassion, but it is trying not to be shown by the man. This is a really interesting poem that shows how Margaret Atwood feels about men. She uses many symbolisms to imply what the men are thinking about he women. His style of writing is basically free verse; there is no recognizable beat or rhyming scheme. The only type of literary device that I can see is that she uses a style of run on poetry. This style can be seen throughout the entire poem to allow the reader’s emotions to carry all the way to the end of the story. The tone that she uses in the poem is anger. Atwood is mad about how women are treated by men. She finds that men know that women are smart and therefore are trying to suppress females.
Her imagery is convincing and really makes us want to think about the truths in her writing. This poem was written in the early seventies, which is about the time when the feminists’ ideals were strongly implanted into the women of North America. This feminist view can be seen throughout the poem and what Atwood feels is expressed in the entire poem. Overall, this was a great poem with a message to the men on how they are treating the women.
In the poem Song of the worms, Atwood tells us how women have been stepped on and taken advantage of. In the first section, it talks about how the worms have done their work and have been underground for so long. This section shows us that men have suppressed women for a long time. The women have done enough work for the men and it is time for a change. The second section talks about how all the women want is to be loved. This section is similar to a part in the first poem where it says that all women want is to be loved. The twist here is that they are rejected by the “boots” of men. This symbolizes the men stepping on the women and treating them like dirt. The women have been stepped on long enough and they know what being stepped on is about.
The next stanza says, “Soon we will invade like weeds, everywhere but slowly.” This is a very strong stanza that is trying to tell the men that soon the women will stand up for themselves and rebel. They will be stepped on no longer and have no fear of what men will try to do to them. The last stanza says that until the time comes, the worms will be in the dirt waiting for the right time to come out and attack. This poem is again free verse and uses a run on style of writing. Atwood makes the worm symbolize the women who are hardworking and oppressed. She believes that one day, women will rise up and say, “Enough is enough,” and rise up to rebel against the men.
All three of these poems deal with feminism and show what Atwood thinks is going on and what will happen. The writing styles of these three poems are similar. All of them use free verse and a run on poem style, which can be seen in almost all of her work. This allows an easier way to get her point through. Her poems are strong and provocative showing what many people do not want to hear or accept. In the last two poems, they both use certain types of animals to symbolize the woman and how the men are treating them. They both say that men are stepping on women and that the women will one day rise and take down these men.
Atwood uses animals because of the way that she was raised up, which was in a home with the father as an etymologist. Her father’s occupation made her enjoy the wilderness and nature, which has influenced her writing today. The first poem is similar to the other poems because it shows that the women have finally stood up for themselves and is now in control. Her feminist views are influenced by the time period that these poems were written in. During the late sixties and early seventies, there was a strong feminist uprising making the women realize that they were like being treated like slaves.